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Wrangell-St. Elias National Park: Bonanza Mine

Pack mining history and Alaska-sized summit views into a challenging dayhike.

Rating

It’s no surprise that America’s largest national park is a mecca for deep backcountry exploration—but this 13.2-million-acre alpine paradise also offers plenty of day-sized adventures. One of the best is a moderately difficult 6.8-mile out-and-back to the old copper mines on Bonanza Ridge, which gave birth to tiny Kennicott and McCarthy in the early twentieth century.From the Kennicott Visitor Center, hike north on the town’s only road. At .5 mile in, a sign points the way to the Bonanza Trail on the right. Begin climbing the steady slope, savoring views of the Chugach Mountains and the Kennicott Glacier as you ascend. At 1 mile and 3,033 feet, the trail forks; stay right for the Bonanza ruins. Explore the historic site with care—the remaining buildings and rock pillars are unstable—then climb another 100 feet for the crest’s expansive panorama of the entire valley, including the Root Glacier, Stairway Icefall, and Wrangell range peaks.
Info: (907) 822-5234; nps.gov/wrst
Hike provided by Gregory Fensterman, author of Hiking Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park (Falcon)

To Trailhead

From Glennallen, head southeast on Richardson Highway/AK 4 to Edgerton Highway. Turn east and continue through Chitina (becomes McCarthy Rd.). Continue to Kennicott River and park at lot near footbridge. Cross on footbridge and take shuttle van remaining 5 miles to Kennicott.

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